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Armada FC Tunes Up for Feb. 6 Opener With Closed Scrimmage Against Red Bulls

Jan 31, 2016

Armada FC Public Relations | Jan. 31, 2016

ORLANDO – The Jacksonville Armada FC had a final tune up on Sunday against Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls in a closed scrimmage at Omni Championsgate Sports Field Complex before kicking off its official preseason schedule against the Philadelphia Union next Saturday in Jacksonville.

Taking the opportunity to get a look at multiple lineups and formations, Armada FC head coach and technical director Tony Meola was impressed with his team’s performance. Despite New York, the 2015 MLS Supporters' Shield winner, coming out on top of the scrimmage by a count of 5-2, Meola was particularly pleased with what he saw in the first half.

“I am very pleased with what I saw, especially in the first half hour against a really good team,” Meola said. “We really put them on their heels a bit. We were hoping for two things: one we could get them on their heels and, two, we would have to deal with a little bit of pressure and that is what we got.”

Meola started the contest with some of his newest signings including Bryan Burke, Tyler Ruthven, Beto Navarro, and Pekka Lagerblom alongside Pascal Millien, Nicolas Perea, Derek Gebhard, Matt Bahner, Mechack Jérôme, Alhassane Keita and Miguel Gallardo in a 3-5-2 formation.

The new combination made an early impression as Keita struck the net in the 12th minute to put the Red Bulls on notice and give the Armada a 1-0 lead.

“For the most part, we played their first team for almost the entire game,” Meola said. “I told the guys I was really impressed with the energy.”

Despite conceding two goals to close out the first half, the Armada managed to bring it back level moments into the second half when forward Danny Barrow found his way through the Red Bulls firm defense.

“We are building,” Meola said. “The Red Bulls have been building their fitness base for about eight weeks, and we started only two weeks ago. I was proud that the guys fought through it and overcame some difficult situations. Make no mistake, that is a really good and well-coached team, so I’m happy.”

The Armada’s match against the Union will kick off at 6 p.m. next Saturday at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Tickets, starting at $10, can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.ARMADA or visiting armadafc.com/tickets.